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Wed, 20 Nov 2019

Northeast Today

Govt holding talks with BRS Venture for two HPC mills in Assam

Govt holding talks with BRS Venture for two HPC mills in Assam
October 19
14:07 2019

NET Bureau

Union Minister Rameswar Teli on Friday said the government is holding negotiations with the UAE-based conglomerate BRS Ventures for selling the PSU firm Hindustan Paper Corp’s two defunct mills in Assam.

Addressing a joint press conference with BRS Ventures chairman B R Shetty, the Union Minister of State for Food Processing said that the Middle East business entity is interested in acquiring the HPC’s Cachar and Nagaon units.

“We are talking about the two paper mills. We requested Shetty to take it and then run accordingly. He has agreed to our proposal,” the minister said.

There are some formalities left before handing over the two mills and both parties will decide accordingly, he added.

Shetty said he is interested in acquiring the two paper mills, which are not in operations for years.

“The paper mills’ case is in NCLT now. My only purpose is to rehabilitate the people, who have not received their salaries for years,” he added.

If the BRS Ventures acquires the two paper mills, the company will construct a health city, a school and a smart town in the complex, he said.

“Then I will request the government to connect Jagiroad with Guwahati by a metro. The mills have turned into junk. These cannot be revived. If the government wants only paper mills, then we will have to set up a new one there. But our plan is to absorb the current workforce in new projects,” Shetty said.

When asked about the possible deal size, Shetty said it is “too early” to comment as he has “only in-principle” agreed to take over the mills.

BRS Ventures is present in the state through tea firm Assam Company India Ltd, which was acquired by the Abu Dhabi- based entity last year through NCLT-monitored bidding for a total valuation of Rs 1,214 crore after the domestic company became insolvent.

In June this year, Teli had urged the Union Heavy Industries Minister Arvind Sawant to reopen the two defunct mills in Assam by either PPP route or privatising them.

Teli, a BJP MP from Assam had written a joint letter along with Assam Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Pijush Hazarika and all the BJP MPs from the state.

HPC’s Cachar unit in Panchgram was stopped since October 20, 2015, while the Nagaon mill in Jagiroad has stopped functioning on March 31, 2017.

No salary was paid to the staff of Cachar and Nagaon units since January and March of 2017 respectively.

In June 2018, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) directed initiation of Corporate Insolvency Resolution Proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016 against the HPC, which had earlier submitted a Rs 1,995- crore revival proposal to the government.

During the hearing of the case, the NCLT has ordered for the liquidation of the two mills of the HPC in May this year.

Source: Business Standard

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